For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

“Executors of Important Energies”

Wells Tower


My father’s troubles had started ten years or so ago when his memory started to erode. He lost wallets and sets of keys in increasingly quick succession. He lost his job, after repeatedly stranding his clients alone at the defense table while he wandered the streets, trying to recall which car was his. He’d more or less forgotten me two years ago, and then last month, he woke up from a two-day nap and couldn’t recognize my stepmother. He called the police. She’d had to show two forms of ID not to get arrested for trespassing in her own house.

Nobody had a clear answer for what to do. We had looked into assisted-living places, but it was a ten-year waiting list if you weren’t looking for a shrieking bedlam multiply indicted for filth and abuse. Other than putting up with my father, Lucy didn’t work. She survived on his savings. My father was only sixty years old and otherwise in good health. He could go on absorbing cash and worry for another twenty-five years at least.

The sound of women screaming came in through my window. This was Thursday, and dance night at the lesbian bar up the block. Afterward, it was a regular thing for the women to stop by and use the west wall of my building to beat each other up against. They broke each other’s hearts on schedule, always in the same indigo half hour of the morning. Sometimes, I’d look out the window and do them the favor of calling to them, so they could unite against me, a common enemy. But I cranked the pane shut and got back into bed.

We read it in Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned.

Originally published in McSweeney's Issue 14.